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De Conjugio, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1766], tr. by John Whitehead [1914] at

De Conjugio


They who have lived in celibacy, live also in celibacy for a long time; but, if they have desired marriage in the world, they also at length enter into marriage.


Those who cannot await the other consort, whether male or female, are conjoined in the meanwhile to another similar one; but then there is given them a perception that it is the same consort they had in the world, but this is dissolved, because there were no betrothing and nuptials, when the true consort arrives, for then from cohabitation in the world they know each other well, and they who wish remain with their own, as was said before.


The marriages of the angels of heaven are all provided by the Lord, who alone knows the similitude of souls which is to endure to eternity and then a consort from the first glance recognizes his consort, which is because the similitude of souls conjoins.


But in hell there are not marriages, but there are adulteries; in infernal societies there the men are separated from the women, and when they think that they are to speak with a wife, from a habit acquired in the world, he goes to the women and a persuasion is given him then that this or that one is his woman, with whom he then consociates himself; but that persuasion is varied, because it makes no difference, since in hell there is no marriage but adultery.


THOSE WHO LIVE MODESTLY AND CHASTELY IN OUTWARD FORM, BUT THINK LASCIVIOUSLY. Afar off were seen women concerning whom it was said that they had lived in the world as virgins, and had avoided matrimony for the sake of chastity, saying that matrimonies were in themselves unchaste, comparing them to allowed whoredoms; it was said also that many of them were from convents, professing chastity for the sake of heaven or eternal salvation. They appeared from afar as naked, because chastity and innocence is represented in the spiritual world by nakedness, which also signifies a life blameless and free from whoredom; but it was perceived that from afar off, in a secret place, they dealt, after death, with men, adulterers, taking care sagaciously not to be seen; but when they were manifestly infested, then they escaped with mocking and fled away. Then was felt the ardor of the men who desired them for wives, because they thought them more chaste and innocent than others. It was said that they were more obscene than others, having delighted in heinous lasciviousness; they were such women as had thought lasciviously within themselves.


It was said of them that after a space of time they acquire such an aversion for matrimony that nothing can exceed it, and conjugial love perishes, and they become disgusting, and this after they have been for some time foul prostitutes, having cast aside all shame, because the external being removed, the internal acts, and their internal without the external is then without any bond from shame.


Those who have affected external sanctity, and also have been given to devotion, and thus are religious, because they become profane and have mingled adulteries with the delight of sanctity, whence comes profanation, appear at length like bony skeletons.


TO COMMAND IN MARRIAGES TAKES AWAY CONJUGIAL LOVE, AND CONCERNING THE DUTCH WOMEN. Concerning the love of commanding in marriages, that it takes away all love truly conjugial, since conjugial love is such that the one wills to think and will as the other, and thus mutually and reciprocally, so neither one commands, but the Lord; thence is the delight of conjugial love.


That wives may not command over husbands is taken care of there in societies; there the men dwell on one side and the women or wives on the other, and when the men desire they send to them and summon them, and then they are separated, or live separately; if the wives are indignant and become angry on account of it, and infest the men because of serving and obeying when they are called; then they are sent forth from the society and wander over various places, and a desire is given to them of going away and deserting the husband; then when they wander, everywhere they encounter an enclosure or obstacle, as it were a marsh, water, or a wall, and so forth; and while this lasts the desire of going away diminishes, and they do this until they are tired out, and then they return to the society and to the mansion there where they had been before; thus the Dutch women are amended.


THE TORMENT OF THOSE WHO ARE OF HELL, FROM THE INFLUX OF CONJUGIAL LOVE. All influx from heaven torments the infernals, wherefore hell is removed from heaven and is also everywhere shut up, so that influx may not at all be felt; the reason is, that they are in contrary love, and just as infernal love torments the celestials, so celestial love torments the infernals; but the celestial prevails, wherefore hell is removed as far as possible; this is meant in the Evangelist, in Abraham's saying that there is a gulf, so that there is no passing over.


But the influx of conjugial love from heaven especially torments the infernals; I have seen spirits in hell brought even into the world of spirits, which is the middle, when these perceive the influx of conjugial love, they come into fury so as to act like furies and also as if they were tormented like serpents in tamarisks [myrica], twisting hither and thither their bodies and intestines like one who is twisted miserably by torment within; they compared their suffering with the greatest sufferings; the reason is that the love of marriage and the love of adultery are altogether opposite, and conjugial love itself is heaven, and the love of adultery is hell. The love flows into their externals and torments their internals.


THE INFERNAL MARRIAGE. The infernal marriage is when one wills to command and the other wills not to serve; thence is deadly hatred interiorly. This was represented by the most direful things, which on account of direfulness cannot be described. They breathe nothing else than slaughter, and also torment of each other; wherefore they are separated and live separated in hell and adultery, concerning which above, concerning Charles XII.


THOSE WHO PLOT AGAINST CONJUGIAL LOVE. I have heard from such, many plots and secret arts of alluring chaste wives to adultery. I have seen more arts than in the world, gaining the favor of them as well as of the husband, by flattering both, and especially the husband; putting on the appearance of interior friendship, exploring the desires and cupidities of the wife, whether she wishes openly or unwillingly, besides a thousand other things. But such are sent not long after death into a hell, situated under the hinder part of the province of the knee, and are there very deep and altogether shut up, that there may be no aperture whatever to look out of that prison, for they are dangerous against conjugial love, which is most holy, and there they are compelled to labor, and have a harlot in place of a wife.


But they who have the rage of violation, and perceive a delight in violation, are let down into a cadaverous hell whence exhales a smell as from corpses, which excites vomiting; it excites it with me.


They plot by means of love towards infants; they were seen to rise from the earth over in front of Gehenna, almost invisible, continually removing obstacles, so that they might come into chaste homes; these they love, but not unchaste ones. They can put on various countenances, and also by arts send themselves forth through thoughts as if they were elsewhere, and thus enter. They put on also a countenance of innocence, and preach chastity; they extol it with praises; they enter into friendships in various ways, even so that they are praised and loved, and if the wife is conscious and desirous, she is praised. They spoke with me, saying, that they wondered that there could be any so conscientious as to say that this is against conscience, charity, and religion; they were in such persuasion, that they saw no evil in it, much less anything filthy. They also spoke sanely concerning marriage; their hell also is under the buttocks, in front, in the foul excrementitious smell there; and because they are crafty, feigning chastity, innocence, and friendships, and many other things, therefore when they come to their internals, which are adulteries, they are vastated until they appear deformed devils; as to internals little of the human remains. They become stupid because they are against the holiness of heaven. They mock and laugh at those who call marriages holy, and adulteries profane or even unlawful.


LOVE TRULY CONJUGIAL IS NAKED. The angels of the third heaven are those who are in celestial marriage more than others, for they are in love to the Lord, and thence in the marriage of good and truth; whence also they are in conjugial love more than other angels, and in innocence and chastity. These walk with a cincture around the loins when abroad, and without the cincture when at home; and yet in their nakedness, they look upon the consort as a consort, nor is there anything lascivious therein. They say that to look at a consort clothed detracts from the idea of marriage, and what is wonderful, nakedness does not excite or stimulate; it is, however, as an internal bond of conjugial love. In bed they lie conjoined as they were created, and sleep so. They say that they cannot do otherwise, because conjugial love itself, which is perpetual, conjoins; thus also the life of the one is communicated with the life of the other, and the life of the husband becomes appropriated to the wife; that it may be as we read of Adam when he saw Eve his wife: "Behold my bone and my flesh," and also that "they were naked and not ashamed," that is not lascivious; but as soon as Adam through his wife receded from love to the Lord, which is meant by "the tree of life" in Paradise (of which there, and Rev. 2:7), which happened because they acted from themselves and their own proprium, namely, from the science and delight of the natural man, then the marriage of good and truth perished, then nakedness became lascivious, and the chastity of marriage failing, they were ashamed of nakedness, and were clothed with fig-leaves, and afterwards with woollen garments; thence by nakedness in the Word is meant lasciviousness, like that of adultery.


In the other heavens under the third, all appear clothed, and also blush at nakedness before the eyes of others, because it excites lasciviousness; to them marriage is not such a delight as in the third heaven; in the lowest heaven there is also something of cold but not indeed as in the world.


I was carried by the Lord through changes of state towards the left to a certain mountain, where all were naked, wives and husbands, at a distance I spoke with them, and they said that all are naked there, and nevertheless no lascivious appetite or desire was caused to anyone from seeing nakedness, and that each consort loved the consort tenderly; also that they could not be united with them clothed; they told the reason, that all were chaste in mind, because they were such in the world. When any newcomer of such a nature arrives from the world, they explore him, which is done by his putting old his garments and stripping himself; then they perceive immediately whether he has a genuine conjugial; if not, he is driven away with punishment; they drive him with blows until he appears no more, and this to the depth. There was a certain one who thought he was in like conjugial love, because in the world he had lived chastely with his wife, nor had he ever had anything in common with harlots; he at first could look upon naked women without any emotion of mind, but when his sight had been fixed for some time he was deprived of his senses at the sight, and finally at the touch of nakedness, and stood without speech as if half dead, wherefore, he was driven away; the reason was that he was not in love to the Lord nor in the marriage of good and truth. They said that few could approach, because the sphere of conjugial love is such, that others cannot bear it; - they said that they live in houses with menservants and maidservants who are all in marriage.


The angels of the third heaven dwell upon mountains, not rocky but of earth, upon which are paradises and gardens with trees; the mountains appear elevated to a point, in the highest part of the mountains are the best and most chaste; below, according to degree in marriage, are the spiritual and the spiritual natural; also their distinctions are according to the quarters, the eastern quarter where they are in love, the south where they are in wisdom.


CONJUGIAL LOVE DESCENDS FROM THE MARRIAGE OF GOOD AND TRUTH. From much experience it has become known to me that no one has conjugial love unless he be in the love of truth from good, and in the love of good through truth, that is, in celestial marriage; and that no one can be in any mutual love of good and truth except they who shun adultery and are averse to it as infernal; and this although they may have lived in marriage in the world, and loved their consort on account of cohabitation and the delight of earthly life, and for the sake of children. For celestial things ought to flow into conjugial love, and man after death comes into his celestial or spiritual things, and then becomes such altogether as he was with regard to them, nor can it be otherwise.


CONJUGIAL LOVE CAUSES A MAN TO BE LOVE. Man was created to be love and thence wisdom, since the Lord is Divine love and Divine wisdom, and it is from creation that a man is the image and likeness of the Lord (Gen. 1:26, 27). And this cannot be without genuine conjugial love. From that everything of man can be turned into love, for in marriage it is lawful for each to love even the body from the heart, and thus to dispose the soul and all things thence to the form of love, which otherwise is not possible. The inmost and outermost there make one, and induce that form, and that form is a form of heaven.


THE EXPLORATION OF SPIRITS BY CONJUGIAL LOVE. Spirits who have recently come into the spiritual world are explored, first of all, as to whether they are against conjugial love; they are led to places where the sphere of conjugial love passes by, or to chaste consorts; if then they change countenance and indignation appears, and more, if they then think lasciviously, and still more if they speak so, it is a sign that they are of infernal mind; but if they then rejoice and are exhilarated, that they are of a celestial mind; it is a test whether they are of heaven or of hell; those who are against conjugial love are of hell; they who are with it are of heaven.


ADULTERIES FROM FAITH SEPARATED FROM CHARITY. I was with those who had confirmed themselves in faith separated from charity, not only in doctrine but also in life, believing that they were to be saved by faith alone even in the hour of death, howsoever they had lived; and thus that all evils were either not regarded by God the Father, or excused on account of the infirmity of man, or remitted, and that when remitted, they were also washed away; they looking to the merit of the Lord from the fulfillment of the law, and that by the passion of the cross He had taken away the sins of the world, and the condemnation of the law, and various things which their doctrine teaches. I perceived when they were in the company of those, or among those with whom they communicated, when we were speaking of that faith, there existed the most obscene representations of heinous adultery, such as that of a son with a mother. The sphere itself was such that it could he perceived by spiritual communication. They act into the occiput, and thus enter into the thought. From their presence also comes pain in the left knee.


The reason that such adultery is perceived from them is that they think of God, of the Lord, of salvation and of eternal life, and they confirm those things from the Word, which thence are spiritual, and because there can be nothing of faith unless it be conjoined with some love, and with them this is conjoined with love merely natural and with its cupidities, and the conjunction of faith with evil love makes that adultery. They think concerning faith from an evil life, and when they are in the delights of terrestrial and corporeal love, thence is the conjunction of faith or truth with evil. The spiritual which is of faith is as a mother, and the son is evil.


I have seen cohorts of them cast out into the hells, and many of them into deserts, where everything of faith is taken away from them, and there they live like wild beasts, and when everything of faith is taken away from them, they are almost deprived of rationality.


WHY IN THE CHRISTIAN WORLD, MORE THAN ELSEWHERE, ADULTERIES ARE NOT ABHORRED. The Gentiles wonder why in the Christian world adulteries and whoredoms are accounted allowable by many and even by most, when yet their religion from the Word of both Testaments condemns them to hell; but the reason was told, that few live according to their religion, but have embraced the doctrine that faith saves; that is, that thinking and not living [saves]; and because thus truth is conjoined with evil, thence from the influx from hell adulteries are loved and received, and also they excuse them. For the influx of hell prevails with them over the influx of heaven. The sphere of adultery also closes heaven, and when heaven is closed, hell is opened: hence its origin comes from the falsity of religions. It is otherwise with those who place religion in life and doctrine at the same time.


THE SPHERE OF ADULTERY. When they speak against the truths and goods of faith and charity, a sphere of whoredom and adultery is produced, and then adulterers rush thither as crows to a carcass, and delight in that stench; thence the sphere is filled with such and other obscene things, that a good person would be horrified.


ADULTERERS AND THEIR HELLS. Their hells are under the buttocks, which are excrementitious; they desire to emerge thence and come into the world, but in vain, because they had loved terrestrial and corporeal things. Thence appeared, as it were, a vomiting and heaving, in such an effort are they.


ADULTERIES IN THE CHRISTIAN WORLD. There are many there of family and of illustrious condition, and thus not of the common people, because they adopted the principle that marriages are for the sake of offspring, and it matters not whether they are violated by others; and they laugh at the sanctity of marriage, calling them silly. Such were brought up out of the hells in great numbers, and being let into the state in which they were in the world, they inquired where there were beautiful wives, and when it was pointed out, they rushed like insane persons and like furies, wishing to enter into houses; but in their blind heat they were carried away to a place where the earth opened, and the crowd was cast into a hell which was behind the back.


THE INFLUX OF ADULTERY FROM GENII. I have passed through the hell where were crafty and interiorly vastated adulterers, and then it was permitted them to flow into the affections of my will, and with such subtlety and art and skill to invert, pervert, and extinguish my thoughts in favor of chastity, and to induce the enjoyment and lust of adultery. They turned themselves to every particle of thought from affection, persuading silently: this was done with me, that I might know that man of himself could in no way resist the delight of adultery except from the Lord; for they act into the hereditary life within the thought, insomuch that man can in no wise observe it; but there was then given me by the Lord an interior perception of their effort.


PRIESTLY WHOREDOM. This is especially committed by those who have confirmed the falsities of doctrine from the Word, and thus have falsified and adulterated it; the reason is that the Word is marriage, corresponds to marriage, and in itself is spiritual; and the delight of natural love falsifies it, especially in preachers.


They who read the Word without doctrine cannot but fall into many fallacies from the sense of the letter which is according to appearances with man, and at the same time they have acquired many falsities and confirmed themselves in them, and at the same time are thence in the pride of their own intelligence; these produce adulteries as of a father with a daughter-in-law.


They who confirm themselves that all evils are remitted by the Holy Supper, without other repentance and without conversion of life, and who do evils, and are in the belief that afterwards evil or sins are taken away by the Holy Supper, their adultery is with the maternal aunt.


Because the Jewish nation had by traditions falsified all things of the Word, it is called by the Lord an adulterous nation.


When charity is acknowledged and not faith, and yet the life of charity is not lived, and they still read the Word, it is the adultery of sister and brother. There are those who frequent the temple, and then pray devoutly and care nothing for evils of life, as thefts, secret robberies, adulteries, hatreds, revenges, cursings of enemies and those who do not favor them. This is with a sister.


The love of self, especially of ruling and yet thinking from the Word, is such as that of Sodom, wherefore they demanded the angels from the house of Lot.


Those who speak much concerning God, and yet care nothing about deceiving men and depriving them of their goods, commit adultery with maidservants, whom they change frequently.


THE HELLS OF ADULTERERS. There are many hells of these, according to the kinds of adultery, which are various.


I have seen harlots who hid themselves in the western region and obstructed the roads, that none might approach except they were willing; I was taken thither; and they were harlots who were all cast into a marshy pool, remote at the back, in the west; they were such as were openly harlots.


Those who had exercised whoredom secretly, without the knowledge of others, and were such to the end of life, were cast into a dark cavern in the west.


Some harlots of noble family who excelled in genius, and also could reason about God, are cast into a marshy pool in the southern region.


Other harlots who were able to steal men by arts not known in the world, compelling them into their proprium by praises and by the immersion of their mind into themselves, and because then being without protection from the Lord, they were delivered over to them, such women are cast into a place burning as it were with sulphur and fire, according to appearance. They dwell in the southwestern quarter, and similar men are cast into a dark abyss sloping under the pool of the women. Women fascinate men, and men women, by diabolical arts, which are many and which it is not allowed to recount.


Those who are adulterers spiritually are distinguished from adulterers naturally; the latter, if they perceive delight in adulteries, and no delight in marriages, are excluded from heaven, and are all sent into hells; but the adulterers spiritually, although they perceive nothing unlawful in adulteries, are yet explored and even amended, and others are allotted places according to life.


There are some in excrementitious hells who are addicted to variety, and by it have extinguished the conjugial; and at the same time are voluptuous; they are in the province of the intestines, under the former, where are everywhere sinks and a foul odor; and everywhere there are caverns from which such an odor exhales.


Those who had a communion of wives are bound as it were into a bundle, and the bundle is tied together by a stretched-out serpent and they are cast into a whirlpool which is beyond the spiritual world of this earth.


They who seduced by the appearance of piety, and thence persuade themselves that adulteries are not contrary to the Christian life, are sent into Gehenna, whence is perceived a stench as of burnt bones and hair, and are there in the fantasy that they are bitten by serpents; when in heat they are on fire, and when they approach heaven they become frozen like ice, and are miserably tortured.


Monks and Jesuits who have acted thus under the pretext of piety, and on account of pity towards them, with the promise that they would remit sins, are also committed to Gehenna.


THE CORRESPONDENCE OF THE MEMBERS DEDICATED TO GENERATION IN BOTH SEXES. Those societies which correspond to the genitals are distinct from others, because that region in the body is also distinct.


Those who love infants, and educate them in heaven, constitute the province of the genital members, especially of the testicles and the neck of the womb, and live the most sweet and happy life.


There are societies of the third heaven, which especially correspond to those members, because they have conjugial love.

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